HAZING: A TIME-HONORED TRADITION
July 29, 2023
Anyone see this article in the New York Times the other day?
It’s a detailed description of the hazing abuses at one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the country, Northwestern University.
And it’s a further reminder that hazing is as persistent as the common cold; everyone wants it to go away, everyone keeps trying to come up with remedies to combat it, but no one can defeat it.
Why is that?
Is it human nature?
We all want to belong to a community of our peers, and many of us will do things that go against our better judgement, just to be a part of that community. But why do the people who are already in the community, even in charge of the community, feel compelled to have the newcomers display their loyalty with cruel, inhumane and often dangerous demands? Is the hunger for power, and the manifestation of that power, that strong?
It doesn’t help that those in power were once the powerless — and if they had to suffer, so does the generation after them. And so on. And so on. And so on.
Most well-known hazing cases are found in the college ranks — on teams, in clubs, pledging frats, etc. But don’t be fooled — it happens in high schools too, and even middle schools. My book GAME CHANGER deals with a hazing incident on a high school football team that very nearly turns fatal. Many readers have written to me saying, “Does that really happen in high school?” It sure does. Look it up.
Northwestern is making a big show of being shocked by the hazing revelations, and vowing to change their culture. The question is, are the countless other schools who do the same exact thing but haven’t yet been caught going to do the same thing? Doubtful. Too much money to be made. So, much like gun violence, Americans will take time out to be periodically appalled, then go back to business as usual, watching, cheering, ignoring.
How do I know this? Because just because I wrote about it, doesn’t mean I’m not one of them. Football season, here we come!